And corporate training is one of those things that people often take to, by default. This isn’t wrong, of course! In fact it’s to be admired that we opt to develop our given skills, but it can mean that we find ourselves several years down the line without having had any formal training in our vocation, and this can limit our options when it comes to progression.
On the flip side, newcomers to the training business might have taken every course under the sun, but haven’t accumulated the hands-on experience in the industry. So, to give a little helping hand, we’ve put together some “Trainer Types” and a few pointers which might help each of them take the next step up the career ladder.
The Accidental TrainerSo here we are, part-way down the accidental career path, and unsure as to what our next move is. Trainers have a tendency to fall into their occupation because they have a natural affinity for their chosen field. They might be the go-to expert--meaning that they’re frequently called upon to teach others what they know--and, as a bonus, they feel relatively comfortable taking centre stage in a room full of their peers. Before they know it, bam! They’re a full-time trainer.
This is a recognition of one’s skills and it is, of course, fantastic. But there’s a big difference between knowing your stuff and understanding the fundamental psychology of teaching others. Because to really add value, training needs to have structure, proper focus and, above all, be inspirational enough to motivate. That’s quite a tall order if you’ve never been taught how to do those things, so something like a Train the Trainer course with Activia, can be of huge benefit to those wishing to develop their core skills. You can learn to enhance the gaps that you may have missing. Yes, you’re good at delivering training (or maybe not), but you can still learn how to build a course (or vice versa).
The Theoretical TrainerNext there’s the student of training. Those who have taken all of the courses, including Train the Trainer, and are champing at the bit to get out into those boardrooms and deliver world-class modules to receptive listeners. But, alas, they just can’t find the opportunities in the job listings.
It’s the same for any new career path - the dreaded; “must have at least three years’ experience”. But how can you hope to gain experience if nobody is willing to risk it on a newcomer? Well, there are a few methods that you could try in order to beef up your CV and boost your chances of securing your dream training position:
- Volunteer work: Places like local community colleges are often crying out for support, which you’d be well-equipped to offer given your substantial theoretical knowledge. You could offer to train courses that are already being run, or the more innovative, offer to run a course on something new, even niche, and not charge for the service. Most colleges would snap you up!
- Become a training assistant: There’s no shame in starting from the ground up. So looking at training assistant roles could be just what you need to move onto the larger training roles a little further down the line. You’ll already have your foot firmly in the door and can learn on the job, from your training mentor.
- Consider HR Assistant positions: Most training roles will require you to be a specialist in Human Resources, or even to have a degree in the field, in some cases. So considering familiarising yourself within a HR position, as a first step, could prove invaluable in leading you to your ideal training role--without the need for a degree.
The Niche TrainerHaving a niche is excellent, but it has its drawbacks in the world of training, because it significantly narrows the pool of opportunities available to you. It’s the same in many industries. So looking to upskill is never going to do any harm, it can only significantly widen the search radius when you are looking for your next career opportunity.
It’s also important to remember that new technologies and processes are introduced within business almost daily! So if you are an IT training specialist, for example, you’ll need to regularly refresh your program knowledge so that you’re not teaching out of date systems to your trainees. And in any field where you are learning new skills to bolster your training repertoire, you can also consider adding some voluntary work or training assistance, so that you can gain hands-on experience of teaching your new material before you “go live”, as it were.
A typical example? Somebody that trains people on Microsoft Excel may look at either other applications within the Microsoft suite, or other spreadsheet applications that are not from Microsoft.
The Intriguing TrainerAs well as taking courses to learn the specifics of training, or to broaden knowledge of programs and applications, it could be an idea to take courses in other areas that interest you. Perhaps sociology/psychology-related modules or seminars could add some interesting analogies to your training? Or you might even take up some kind of craft, as a means of having your trainees interact, practically, with one another?
Anything that you can do to broaden your own interests and knowledge base can only serve to add depth to your training, and inspire your colleagues. And once the testimonials come rolling in, the most sought-after positions will become more attainable.
The Self-promoting TrainerThe internet is a wonderful tool for those starting out, or struggling to make headway, in any career. Think how many “self-made” YouTubers and Instagrammers there are in the world right now! So how about starting your own online training feed? You’re clearly a natural at public speaking, you’ve now got experience in the field and a host of qualifications; these are valuable tools with which you could potentially market yourself to a much wider audience.
If you’ve never actually built a course yourself before, Train the Trainer will be huge help in setting the right structure and keeping it focused. Then you can take to all kinds of platforms, such as Udemy, to sell your skills online. If it sounds too good to be true, just take a look at all the others out there who are already doing it!
So now that you have a solid plan of attack, there’s nothing standing in the way of you and your long and illustrious career as a top trainer. Time to put those skills to work.